March 23, 2005

Reigning Champion John Reynolds will race at the opening round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday despite breaking his right leg in five places in a testing accident at Valencia, Spain last month.

Reynolds was given the go-ahead to race by his specialist yesterday and today rode his Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000K5 at Mallory Park, then told his team that he will start his title defence at the Kent circuit.

The 39-year-old Nottingham rider has made a miraculous recovery from the four breaks to his tibia and single break to the fibula that he suffered on February 18th. According to experts, this type of injury can take many months to heal but thanks to the support of his team, as well as expert care using a pure-oxygen hyperbaric chamber, laser treatment and a specially-made Alpinestars race boot, he will be back in action this weekend.

New team mate Scott Smart is also fired up for the start of the Championship after a successful pre-season test programme. With riding time on the GSX-R1000K5 on his side - and a comfortable set-up - Smart is keen to make a successful debut for his Rizla Suzuki team.

John Reynolds:

"I completed 15 laps of Mallory Park today and I am pretty happy that I can ride at Brands Hatch this weekend. I'm going to defend my title from the off and my rivals had better be ready.

"I have asked my team technicians to alter my right foot brake settings so I can move around the bike more easily, but apart from that, I am ready. I am not at full fitness but I want to ride, and more importantly, race."

Scott Smart:

"I am properly looking forward to Brands Hatch and getting the season underway. It's great news for Rizla Suzuki and all the race fans that 'JR' is going to be lining up at Brands. But it's probably not so much good news for his rivals.

"My Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000K5 is a really strong bike and I've enjoyed some very good tests on it. I am comfortable and it's time to show what I can do. I can't wait!"

Robert Wicks - Rizla Suzuki Team Manager:

"It's nothing short of miraculous that JR has recovered sufficiently in just over five weeks to race at the opening round. Let me be the first to call him a hero, because the British Bulldog determination and effort he has put into healing has been truly inspirational.

"Thanks to everyone who has made his recovery possible, including the Rizla Suzuki team; his surgeon David Hahn at Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, Brian Simpson - who has been treating him in Ipswich - to Jonathan Palmer from Motor Sport Vision for assisting with a plane to bring him home. I'd also like to thank pilots John Daly and John Scurr - who flew him back so quickly and comfortably - as well as Stuart Higgs at the MCRCB for arranging an ambulance to transport him from the airport to hospital.

"Scott is on top form and is happy with the set-up of his Rizla Suzuki. He's going to be very hard to beat and now has the tools to prove what we already know; that he's a world-class rider with the ability to win championships."

The first round of the British Superbike Championship takes place at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent on Bank Holiday Monday, March 28th.

Source: Team Suzuki Press Office

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